Zechariah: Joshua’s Crown and the Messiah

…Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. 

Zechariah 6:12

Zechariah’s visions having ended, at some unknown point afterward “the word of the Lord came” to him (cf. Heb. 1:1), directing him to “take from the exiles” three people, “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon,” and “go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah” (6:9-10).  These three had been among the Babylonian exiles now returned to Judah.  After arriving at Josiah’s house, the Lord directed the prophet to “take…silver and gold” from the three men and “make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest” (6:11).  This was the same Joshua who had been in one of Zechariah’s earlier visions (3:1ff).  This crown, made of silver and gold molded together by the prophet, might have been double-tiered.  According to commentator Homer Hailey, this would signify that the one wearing the crown held two offices, that of high priest AND king.  No high priest had been king before in Israel.  Zechariah’s crowning of the high priest Joshua was thus a symbolic prophecy.  This is made even clearer by what the Lord directed Zechariah to say to Joshua (whose name in Hebrew – yhosua – means “Jehovah saves” and is transliterated in Greek to iesous…Jesus).

In his earlier vision, the prophet had spoken to Joshua about “my servant the Branch” (3:8ff).  Now the Lord directed him to speak of “the man whose name is the Branch” once again, foretelling that “he shall branch out from his place…build the temple of the Lord…shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne” (6:12-13a).  He also prophesied that “there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (6:13b).  This is clearly a prophecy about Jesus.  Isaiah had earlier prophesied about the Messiah as “a shoot” or “branch” from “the stump” and “roots” of “Jesse,” David’s father, Jesus’ ancestor (Is. 11:1ff; cf. Matt. 1:1ff).  Jeremiah had also prophesied of the Messiah as “a righteous Branch” (Jer. 33:15ff).  “He shall branch out from his place” alludes to how the Messiah would come from a lowly background, as Jesus did (Lk. 2; cf. John 2:45-49).  “He shall build the temple of the Lord” foretells Christ’s building of His church, the spiritual temple of which Solomon and Zerubbabel’s constructions foreshadowed (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22; cf. Heb. 8:5; 10:1; Col. 2:17).  Christ the Messiah surely would “bear royal honor” as the prophet foretold (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Heb. 2:7, 9; 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 5:12-13), and would “sit and rule on his throne” (Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13-14).  By prophesying that “there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both,” Zechariah foretold of Christ’s dual role as our King and High Priest and the peace it would bring to us (1 Tim. 6:15; Heb. 4:14-16).

God then directed Zechariah to place the crown he made for Joshua “in the temple of the Lord as a reminder” to the three exiles from Babylon mentioned earlier and “the son of Zephaniah,” called Josiah in verse 10 but cited as “Hen” by some translations here (6:14).  This is more proof that the crown was meant solely as messianic prophetic symbolism rather than as a directive for Joshua to call himself king.  The messianic prophecy concluded as Zechariah then foretold of “those who are far off” coming to “help to build the temple of the Lord” (6:15a), a likely reference to the inclusion of Gentiles in the church (Acts 2:39; Eph. 2:11-16).  The prophecy then concluded with Zechariah’s promise that the fulfillment of this prophecy would show that the Lord had truly sent him (6:15b; cf. Deut. 18:15-22).

“…And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God” can teach us much, Christians (6:15c).  All of God’s promises of salvation will directly apply to us if we obey Him (Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21-27).  Are we doing so?

— Jon

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s